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State will close middle and upper Kuskokwim River to gillnets beginning June 9 to conserve salmon

Red and Chinook salmon
Red and Chinook salmon

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting that the Kuskokwim River will see similar salmon runs as last year and has released its initial fishing regulations for the upcoming salmon season.

On the Kuskokwim River, the state is forecasting below average Chinook salmon runs and poor chum runs. For reds and silvers, the forecast looks more hopeful. It’s predicting an above average red run and an average silver run.

To conserve the Chinook and chum, the state is closing the Kuskokwim River to gillnets beginning June 1 from the mouth upstream to Aniak. This is the same as the federal closure. Federal managers have already declared management of this portion of the river and have also previously announced that this section will close to gillnets beginning June 1.

The state will manage the Kuskokwim River salmon fishery from the Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge boundary at Aniak upstream to the headwaters. The state will close this section to gillnets beginning June 9. Once this section of the river closes, any Chinook salmon caught in this section with hook and line, fish wheels, dip nets, or beach seines must be immediately returned to the water alive.

Under federal regulation, any salmon, including Chinook, caught with these methods below Aniak can be kept.

The state has also announced concurrent set net openings as federal managers for the lower river, from the mouth upstream to Aniak.

There will be 16-hour set net openings on June 1, 4, and 8, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For the lower river, federal managers have also announced 12-hour driftnet openings on June 12 and 16 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.
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